A Movement Five Years in the Making

President Obama shares a message highlighting the fifth anniversary of the My Brother’s Keeper initiative. To make sure you don’t miss any My Brother’s Keeper Alliance updates and other Foundation news, sign up for our email list HERE.

Five years ago today, in the aftermath of Trayvon Martin’s tragic killing, I launched My Brother’s Keeper, an initiative designed to expand opportunity and break down the barriers that our boys and young men of color face. In the years since, My Brother’s Keeper has fought for meaningful policy reforms—reforms that are making a real difference not just for young men, but for young women, too.

We’ve fought to expand access to Pell Grants—helping more students, including those who are incarcerated, get the education they need to build a career. We’ve worked to expunge juvenile records—reopening doors that might have been closed off by a youthful mistake. We’ve helped reform discriminatory discipline policies in schools across the country—helping more boys and girls get treated fairly, regardless of their skin color. And by mobilizing and connecting advocacy groups, local governments, businesses, grassroots organizations, and faith communities, we’ve been able to touch the lives of tens of thousands of young people all across the country, through everything from mentoring programs to violence prevention initiatives.

As part of the Obama Foundation, the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance now represents nearly 250 communities nationwide, each one dedicated to investing in solutions that work, launching new partnerships, and tackling the systemic challenges that prevent our young men from reaching their full potential.

I witnessed that commitment firsthand last week in Oakland at MBK Rising!, a celebration of the young men, community leaders, activists, and elected officials driving this movement. What I’ll remember most from my time in Oakland are the young leaders I met there.

They’re from all across the country, each one with his own story to tell. They’re not just looking to get ahead themselves—they’re reaching back to their communities to help others thrive as well. They’re not just boys becoming men—they’re redefining masculinity for their generation and modeling a more inclusive, more empathetic, more socially responsible, bigger-hearted vision of manhood and its responsibilities. They’re not just working hard inside the system—they’re demanding that the system itself change so that their generation can fulfill its promise.

Our country can reach its potential only if these young men can reach theirs. That’s why Michelle, I, and the rest of the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance will never stop fighting for them. I hope you’ll join us in the fight, too. To check out the livestream of the Oakland conference or learn more go to: https://www.obama.org/mbka/rising/